DEPARTMENT of Education Secretary Leonor Briones said there is a need to include in the class curriculum the emphasis on the disaster risk reduction and mitigation lessons because the schools and the students are the most vulnerable to disasters when they happen.
When there are typhoons or earthquakes, the schools are severely affected. We assume here that preliminary measures have been undertaken like the government regular exercises and drills held in schools . The students know what to do when disasters come. The school days are postponed .
In the past, students learn what these disasters are in their science subject. In the social science subject they learn how to react as a community in any school building. The location of schools, the degree of risks attendant to this are to be considered in planning the curriculum to give the possible solutions to the problems.
Many schools are located on grounds predisposed to erosion on its basic topography. According to the department records there are 1,933 elementary and secondary schools affected by these disasters. Analyzing the situations, I think the best remedial measure to be done is to study the best land topography suited for a safe ground foundation in planning the location of a new school to be constructed. Architects and civil engineers can do this.
I saw a pictorial account of the hazard of a school built on a sloping terrain where continuous erosion of its surroundings due to heavy rains and typhoons will eventually ruin the building . The best remedy is to build a sturdy dike in the lowland portion to stop the havoc . Such dikes must have a sufficiently strengthened and wide basic foundation and not just a nice looking fence above ground. Corruption in government financing is evident here. All of these measures should be considered in the disaster risk reduction and mitigations planning.
Another imperative preventive measure is to require the weather bureau to provide weather forecast early enough to the department to suspend classes. Six o'clock a.m. is best so pupils will not go to school anymore. What happens is late announcements come when the children are in the streets already getting wet and getting sick. In planning locations of new school buildings, the safest locations is a must. Extensive flat sturdy locales are best. If the place is flood prone the floorings must be elevated and foot paths must be provided to reach the school.
There are other problems of the department right now. The president has a netizens' survey on the plan not to continue the K-12 basic study system of the past regime. As an educator in 48 years of my life , I agree with this plan. Complaints from parents, students and teachers alike attest to this.
The K-12 plan did not study well the impact of such plan on the existing otherwise well functioning system. The additional two years to enable students to have opportunities to work for a living after this is full of disadvantageous consequences. Two years of the traditional college levels become idle. Lack of classrooms, qualified teachers, more expenses on tuitions shouldered by parents, published textbooks found to have errors had contributed to the limping proceedings of the K-12 plan. College teachers are jobless and are requested to attend seminars to prepare them to teach grades 11 and 12 where few passed the qualifying tests. K-12 basic education should be discontinued for these reasons .
The president also mentioned that in enhancing the new curriculum contents the following subject contents must include lessons on drugs, addictions, smoking, reproduction lessons, sex education, family planning, increase in population management. My space now will not be enough to tackle this so I plan to have these topics elaborated in my next column.
I want to explore now the feasibility of solving the provision of resettlement of people affected by the disasters. They should not use school buildings as resettlement areas. The way these school rooms are vandalized are a horror to me.
Classroom desks, tables, books, teaching aids, paints, water supply, electricity are in disarray. The comfort rooms are insufficient even when portalets are provided users show lack of sanitation and healthful living. The gymnasiums and school grounds with roofs should be utilized and some government provided facilities must be considered .
I remember the advocacy of Sec. Briones on the alternative learning systems not exclusively within the four walls of the classroom. In disaster risk management much can be learned from her experiences. She takes into considerations the particular students' environment, their community, class of society , prevailing beliefs and traditions.
The Indigenous Peoples , belonging to different tribes are the best prototypes to have alternative measures in risk management and mitigations in their localities. Foremost is to provide a school building in every barangay all over the Philippines. I had been harping on this in my previous columns. We have seen children walking on tight ropes tied to trees from one end to the other to cross rivers. There are two ropes , one to walk on and the other to hold on with the hands, heavy back pack on their shoulders. A miss step would bring them down to the rushing currents of water below. These were solved by philanthropists who provided either boats where they can ride or Bailey bridge where they can walk or ride in bicycles or pedicabs. What other risks can be more dangerous?